How Do I Fix an Error in My Credit Rating?
What is a credit file?
A credit file is a comprehensive report maintained by the credit agencies on every individual who has been "credit-active" within the previous seven years. The credit file outlines the date the credit was applied for, whether the credit account was a personal or joint application, who the lender was, how much credit was applied for and how much was granted, and the type of credit that was applied for.
Using the information in the credit file, these agencies give individuals a credit rating. This credit rating is used by lenders to determine whether or not to extend a line of credit and what interest rate to offer the borrower. This credit file is updated every time the borrower applies for new credit.
How can I see my credit file?
You can also request your credit file from Veda Advantage by visiting http://www.mycreditfile.com.au and clicking "Order Online Now"
For Dun and Bradstreet Australia, mail inquiries to:
Dun & Bradstreet (Australia)
Public Access Centre
PO Box 7405
St. Kilda Rd
You can also request your credit file from Dun and Bradstreet by visiting http://dnb.com.au/.
How do I fix mistakes in my credit file?
Once you have a copy of your credit file, you must carefully examine the information listed to check for mistakes. There's no sense in taking a credit hit because of inaccurate information! An estimated 30 to 70 percent of all credit files in Australia contain errors, inaccurate, or otherwise erroneous information. The credit bureaus are not accountable for inaccurate information. They must correct the information when it is brought to their attention, but they are not required to verify data before reporting it to lenders. Therefore, it is the consumer's responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their credit file and credit rating.
Unfortunately, most consumers are unaware that there is an error on their credit report until it's too late and they have already been denied for credit. Experts recommend that consumers check their credit report at least once a year to avoid irregularities and safeguard against
credit fraud. If left unchecked, these errors could be costing you financing eligibility or earning you unnecessarily high interest rates from lenders.
Errors on your credit file could include:
- Accounts appearing that do not belong to you
- Accounts you own showing as overdue when they are not
- Multiple collections listings for the same account (you can only be penalized for a default account once)
- Incorrect employment information, name spelling, or address
- Judgments, bankruptcies, or defaults you are not responsible for
- Defaults being reported on accounts in which the payment delinquency is less than 60 days
If you see an error on your credit report, you must immediately take steps to correct the mistake. Begin by contacting the credit provider (lender) associated with the inaccurate information to inform them of the discrepancy. Give the lender information about the account, including the reference number and other identifying details, so that they can conduct an investigation of the matter.
If the lender finds the account was incorrectly reported as yours or as overdue, that lender is then required to contact the credit agency so that the incorrect information can be erased from your credit report. You should also send a copy of the dispute to both credit agencies so that the account in question can be marked as "disputed" until the issue is resolved. Note that the information should go to both credit agencies. This is important because each agency maintains separate records. Fixing an error on your file with Veda Advantage will not automatically correct an error on Dun and Bradstreet Australia's file.
You can safeguard yourself against potential errors on your report by checking your credit file frequently and maintaining records pertaining to all financial obligations. Keep records of payment receipts, settlement terms, and other agreements you make with lenders. Be sure to keep copies of all files in a safe place. Creating a paper trail will help you fight inaccurate information and get errors corrected quickly.
What to do next
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